By Peter Hadden
An attack on all Unison members
THE RIGHT wing leadership of Unison has gone ahead with the expulsion of RVH nursing convenor, Pat Lawlor (right), from the union.
The grounds given to justify this expulsion were that Pat, who is a member of the Socialist Party, sent an email giving support to striking Classroom Assistants and criticising the failure of the Unison leadership to back that strike.
This expulsion is an attack on the democratic rights of every Unison member. It means that it has now become an expellable offence for any member to criticise the leadership of the union.
While the Unison leadership is setting itself up as a dictatorship, Unison members are facing a vicious assault on jobs, on wages and on terms and conditions of employment. The cuts that are being proposed in the Health service will mean – if they go ahead – that thousands of Unison members will lose their jobs or else will find themselves transferred to the private sector on worse wages and worse conditions.
Instead of leading a fight back to resist the cuts, the current Unison leadership has stayed silent. Is this because they have already done behind the scenes deals with their political friends in the Assembly and with the Health Trusts to accept these cuts?
Unison members have every right to ask questions of the leadership and to criticise them for their failure to put up a fight. Yet, if Pat Lawlor’s case is anything to go by, they could be then be expelled from the union for speaking out.
This is a completely unacceptable state of affairs. Unison members need a democratic union so that they can elect a leadership that does not engage in cosy deals with politicians and employers, but fights on their behalf.
A campaign has been launched to change the union and put the membership back in charge. For further details or to join the Campaign for a Democratic Unison, contact Pat Lawlor at 07810522111.